February 2021 update
We hope you are keeping well in these challenging times.
In December we shared with you and the community that, together with our youth movement and youth organisation partners, we are planning Israel experiences for summer 2021, for those currently in both year 11 and year 12. As promised then, we are now sharing more information on our progress.
Since December, as you will know, the COVID-19 situation has changed and continues to change on an almost daily basis. We have seen the arrival of the new variants, the rollout of vaccines in Israel and in the UK, a new lockdown, schools closing, exams cancelled, the introduction of mandatory pre-flight testing and much more.
As it stands right now there is still uncertainty around the viability of Israel experiences in summer 2021 taking place. These areas include border restrictions, insurance for cancellation and curtailment, the availability of flights, the date of and arrangements for examination results day, and crucially COVID-19 protocols on the ground that will ensure the safety of all participants and leaders.
We are still hopeful that summer 2021 will be able to go ahead so another generation of young British Jews can enjoy these amazing programmes in Israel. But, like the rest of the global travel industry, we must be cautious and plan carefully in order to have the confidence that we can ensure the safety of our participants and leaders before opening our programmes for applications. We hope that we will have more clarity in March, and at that time we will report back to you with an update on whether we can open registration.
Please rest assured that UJIA Israel Experience and our youth movement and youth organisation partners are working tirelessly on this. We are also closely monitoring both the UK and Israeli government advice and regulations.
We will keep you updated and if you have any questions or queries at all, please do not hesitate to contact your youth movement or youth organisation.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Israel experiences happening this summer?
At the moment, there is a lot of uncertainty around all travel programmes due to the pandemic. UJIA Israel Experience and our youth movement and youth organisation partners are working hard to overcome these challenges in order to launch and run Israel programmes this summer, but we cannot guarantee anything at this time.
Both the UK and Israeli borders are closed, and the Government is advising against travel. How do you expect Israel experiences to happen? When do you expect to know if Israel experiences will or will not happen?
We are monitoring both the UK and Israel border situation closely and are being updated by senior officials in both countries regularly. If it becomes apparent that it is not safe or possible for Israel experiences to take place, then we will let families know immediately. There is no one single date on which we can promise to have made a decision about Israel experiences as this is a constantly changing situation. We understand that this is difficult for families and especially young people who are excited to go on Israel experiences, but the nature of the pandemic is that things change fast and there is only limited certainty we can offer at this time.
How will signing up for Israel experiences work this year?
You will be able to apply for Israel experiences when the programmes are officially launched. You will sign up in the usual way – via a youth movement or youth organisation through the online registration system. We will update you in March about what we hope will be a registration date.
Will there be a mass effort to ensure all children going on Israel experiences have been vaccinated?
According to current government guidelines and public health announcements, it doesn’t look likely that children aged 16 and 17 will be vaccinated before the summer. We are keeping updated with the latest guidance and will update you accordingly if the situation changes.
Will all young people be tested before they go on Israel experiences?
Currently, all children are tested at both the UK and Israeli borders. If a test comes back positive, you cannot fly. Again, it is difficult to know now what the rules and regulations will be in the summer; however all precautions will be taken.
Will there be insurance?
We are working hard to find insurance for Israel experiences and will not run the programmes if they are not insurable. More information will be shared when we have it.
Will both year 11 and year 12 children be in the same group?
Currently most youth movements and youth organisations are planning separate groups for year 11s and year 12s. Nearer the time, depending on numbers, some may merge them. This will all be clearly communicated to families.
What will the year 12 experience be like?
The youth movements and youth organisations want to offer an experience for year 12s that both captures something of the magic of “Tour” and recognises that the participants will be a year older and at a different stage in their school and life journeys. As a result, the aim will be to have programming that embraces both of these aspects. Different youth movements and youth organisations will deliver this in different ways and you should contact them individually for details about their specific plans nearer the time.
Will I have to complete the whole sign-up process for my child in year 12 if I did it last year when they were in year 11?
We are working on this and hope that the online application system will be able to transfer many of the details from last year to a new application this year. However, there may be certain steps of the application process that we ask you to complete again, for example getting a GP to sign off the medical form and to apply for bursaries. Additionally, if any of the details from last year have changed (e.g. if you have moved house), you will need to update them.
To register your initial interest and to be the first to hear more information, please contact the youth movements and youth organisations below:
UJIA Israel Experience is organised by the Jewish Agency for Israel and supported by UJIA